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The Salvation Army in need of donations at end of year

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BATON ROUGE - There are only a couple days left to make charitable donations before the end of the year to get your tax write-off. The Salvation Army is still recovering from the August 2016 flood, which means donations are welcome and needed. 

The annual Red Kettle collection fundraiser came up short this year and raised $45,000 less than last year. The Salvation Army Director of Development Miriam Overton blames it on cold weather and online shopping.

"That only takes missing about two or three days of having our bell ringers out there and that affects the bottom line," said Overton. "It's just one of those things that you have to try to make up for it on other things."

It's why there's a strong appeal for donations toward the end of the year and especially this year when it's really needed. The Salvation Army programs rely heavily on donations this time of year.

"When people give to The Salvation Army, they really make a huge difference in the community as a whole," said Overton.

The donations given to The Salvation Army store are repurposed and sold. Right now, only one Salvation Army store is open in Gonzales. The Airline Highway store will reopen this summer and a brand new store on Coursey Blvd. is set to open in April.

Donations help fund the Center of Hope, homeless sheltering, rental assistance to families in crisis, utility assistance, food, furniture, and clothing. A number of programs for youth and women run throughout the year including the Angel Tree Program that gave new toys and clothes to 5,000 children in the community. It also finished a 3,000 meal Thanksgiving dinner last month.

In April 2017, The Salvation Army opened it's Center of Hope to men 18 and older in the community. The substance abuse and rehabilitation center is a 40-bed facility and is one of the only centers that's fully-functioning after the flood. It also provides shelter for homeless men and teaches them life skills that will help them get back on their feet.

The Salvation Army says it's looking for clothing and furniture right now. It will not be accepting large box televisions because they don't sell, it also won't be taking in toys and baby items including cribs.

"We want to be really careful about everything that we sell, that it doesn't put anybody in any danger," said Overton.

Tax receipts are being handed out for donations. The Salvation Army says it will pick up larger items at your house.

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